Even with the skies dark outside, spirits were high at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday afternoon, as one of the Glazer Family Foundation's most successful programs added another chapter in its giving. The Foundation hosted five nonprofits from Central Florida that were selected to receive nearly $25,000 in grants.
The Glazer Family Foundation awarded the grants in a presentation and luncheon during a rain-soaked day at Buccaneers Training Camp. Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz invited representatives from the five organizations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' home to participate in a roundtable discussion about their charitable efforts before receiving grant checks and commemorative plaques from the Foundation.
In attendance were hard-working folks from Children First, Inc., Community Food and Outreach Center, Counseling, Mediation and Educational Center, Inc., The Florida Center for Child and Family Developmentand Women's Resource Center of Tampa, Inc.
Each year, the Glazer Family Foundation awards grants in the summer and winter to nonprofit organizations whose programs focus on the health, safety, recreation and education of disadvantaged children. Last year, 12 nonprofit organizations received grants through the bi-annual program.
"We get thousands of grant applications and it's very difficult to pick," Kassewitz said. "They are all so deserving, but the organizations that we selected this year are outstanding. These charities really help a lot of people, a lot of families and a lot of children."
The day was particularly special for one organization. The Counseling, Mediation and Educational Center, Inc. (CMEC) not only received a grant but also was acknowledged as a beneficiary of the Foundation's "Buc-Packs for Back-to-School" program. CMEC will receive backpacks for 50 children who have parents that have been incarcerated in both state and federal prisons.
President of CMEC Viola Posley and volunteer Michele Greco were on hand to accept the grant. Posley explained that the grant will assist in providing a connection between children and their incarcerated parents. The grant money will be used to purchase items such as collect telephone calling cards, weekend visit travel funds, photographs for parents and writing materials for correspondence.
"We are very excited about the grant," Posley said with a big smile. "The grant money is going to allow kids to continue their attachment process with their parents even though their parents are in prison."
Posley explained that many children may not live anywhere near their parents because of state and federal laws, and she reinforced how important it is for children, especially teens, to maintain a connection with their parents.
"The grant will actually provide money for transportation for some children who have parents incarcerated out-of-state, even if it's just once per year," she said. "It will also assist with travel money for in-state visits. Then there will be a different set of children who will receive phone cards and stamps and stationary to be able to write or call their parents."
Posley expects that around 400 kids will benefit from the program during the next year.
"Some of the kids we selected have not seen their parents in almost two years," she said. "So it's immensely important for them to stay connected and see their parents. One of the children was so excited when he found out, he was jumping up and down."
As Posley explained, children who have a parent or parents in jail are more likely to struggle with relationships and in school, and are at an increased risk to commit crimes themselves.
"It's a big help," she said, referring to the grant. "It means a lot. One of the trends you see with these kids is a lot of anger. We want to bridge that gap and make sure that children know it's okay to still love their parents even if they are in jail. Parental attachment is one of the cornerstones to our development process and a top priority for us with these children."
The CMEC was established in 2002 to help strengthen individuals, specifically children, in times of stress and family discord.
Kassewitz reiterated the importance of the grant projects and explained that the round table format used during the presentation can foster mutually beneficial relationships between nonprofits from around the area.
"We continue this grant process because we want all these nonprofit organizations to seek out each other," Kassewitz said. "We want them to continue to help each other. There are so many nonprofits that can benefit from one another and we are trying to bring them together so that we can help as many groups as possible throughout the Bay area."
Below is a rundown of the 2011 summer grant recipients
- Children First, Inc. (Sarasota County)will provide more than 12,000 pints of milk to some of Sarasota's most vulnerable children. The grant will allow more than 30 children to consume milk for one year as a part of Children First's nutritional program.
- Community Food and Outreach Center (Orange County)helps with the expansion of the "Summer Read and Feed Program" at the Orlando campus of Community Food & Outreach Center. The grant will be used to purchase educational materials, program supplies and food needed to expand the program in the Orlando area.
- Counseling, Mediation, and Educational Center, Inc. (Seminole County)seeks to provide a connection between children and their incarcerated parents. The grant will be used to purchase items such as collect telephone calls, weekend visits, photographs for parents and writing materials.
- The Florida Center for Child and Family Development (Sarasota County) assists by providing therapy materials for families with children at risk of academic, social and economic failure. The grant will be used to purchase various therapy items to enhance the overall impact of the Center's programming.
- Women's Resource Center of Tampa, Inc. (Hillsborough County) allows for women and their children who have been affected by domestic violence,* *homelessness, addictions and abuse, to rebuild their lives. The grant will be used to assist with rental costs, utilities, GED testing, and transportation.
Due to Tuesday's inclement weather, the Glazer Family Foundation's annual "Buc-Packs for Back-to-School" distribution was postponed. This year 3,500 backpacks will be donated to more than 60 local nonprofits in time for the start of school.
"The kids in school need to focus on learning," Kassewitz said. "You can't learn if you don't have the proper tools to go to school with. We also want them to have fun while they are at school, so we just try to make it easier for the children to go to school so they can focus on what's really important."
The backpacks feature the Buccaneers and Glazer Family Foundation logo and are stuffed with school supplies that will prepare the children for all their academic activities as the school year starts.
The following organizations will receive backpacks this summer:
- 360 ESAH Foundation
- Abe Brown Ministries, Inc.
- Bealsville, Incorporated
- Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, Inc.
- Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Pinellas County, Inc.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Hernando County
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County
- Caribbean Community Connection of Orlando, Inc.
- Catholic Charities of Central Florida
- CBC of Central Florida/Pathways to Home
- CDC of Tampa, Inc.
- Child Abuse Council, INC.
- Children's Cancer Center
- City of Tampa Parks and Recreation
- Counseling, Mediation, and Educational Center, Inc.
- Covenant Kids Manor, Inc.
- Devereux Florida
- East Ybor Historic and Civic Association
- Educational Foundation of Lake County, Inc.
- Family Literacy Academy at Lake Wales
- Florida Adults & Children Enrichment Services, Inc.
- Foundation for Foster Children
- Frostproof Care Center, Inc.
- GFWC Brandon Junior Women's Club
- Girls Incorporated of Pinellas
- Goodwill Industries of Central Florida
- Goodwill-Good Guides Youth Mentoring
- Greater Ridgecrest Area for Youth Development Initiative
- GROWS Literacy Council
- Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay
- Hillsborough County Children's Service.
- Hope Community Center, Inc.
- HOPE Helps, Inc.
- Jackson Heights NFL Youth Education Town
- Jewish Family Services
- Justice Peace Office Inc.
- Kaye Prox Food Bank
- Kids House of Seminole, Inc.
- Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
- Manatee Children's Services, Inc.
- Mary Bradley Weeks Educational Project, Inc.
- Mental Health Care/FASST
- Metropolitan Ministries, Inc.
- Mulberry Community Service Center
- New Dawn Restoration Center
- Orlando Neighborhood Improvements Corporation
- Pasco Education Foundation/Take Stock in Children
- Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services, Inc.
- Police Athletic League
- Project LINK, Inc.
- Rainbow Heights Crime Watch
- RCDF DBA Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center
- Reachup Inc.
- Rescue Outreach Mission
- Start Right, Now
- Suncoast Voices for Children Foundation, Inc.
- Tampa Bay Community & Family Development Corp.
- The Children's Home, Inc.
- The HOPE Fund
- The Howard Phillips Center for Children and Families
- The Salvation Army
- The Skills Center
- Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc.
The Glazers, who own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, established the Foundation in 1999. Since that time, the Glazer Family Foundation has given millions of dollars in programs, grants, tickets and merchandise to the Tampa Bay area. Most recently, the Foundation donated $5 million toward the construction of a new children's museum in downtown Tampa, which opened on September 25, 2010 and is named the Glazer Children's Museum. Visit www.GlazerFamilyFoundation.org for more information.